Golf's stars battle not to win but to stay alive

Adam Scott of Australia walks during a practice round prior to the 2018 US Open at Shinnecock Hills
GETTY IMAGES Adam Scott of Australia walks during a practice round prior to the 2018 US Open at Shinnecock Hills

17 June, 2018

"They'll start to pick up a little bit of speed, and it will be a good U.S. Open again".

On a course that can cause problems in any weather, where triple bogeys or worse have been recorded on all but six holes, perhaps the most daunting prospect going into the weekend is Dustin Johnson with a four-shot lead.

"I'm not very happy with the way that I played and the way that I putted, I'm at 10 over par", said Woods. Shinnecock presented a different face as Thursday's gusting wind gave way to morning mist with stretches of wind-driven rain, followed by afternoon sunshine.

That process began on some holes even before Johnson bogeyed No. 18 to fall into that four-way tie at 3 over par.

He did indeed not play badly in a respectable 2-over-par 72 on Friday, but the damage had been done with an opening 78 that included a demoralising triple-bogey at the first hole. All but one - Tom McNamara in 1909 - went on to win. Even USGA CEO Mike Davis admitted the course went over the edge in spots late in the day.

Shinnecock can punish anyone in a NY minute.

"I played well", Lumsden said afterward.

He is keeping things simple - hitting fairways (22 through two rounds) and greens. "But I'm all of a sudden in a position where I can have a good round tomorrow and be up there for Sunday, hopefully".

"Our whole careers are pretty much measured (by the majors) and one year (2000), I did it three times".

And while you can point it his five successive top-10 finishes in the Masters and back-to-back top-five finishes in The Open as indicators that there's little wrong, his high expectations and those of his admirers make winning just one other tournament since he captured the Tour Championship in September 2016 look like under-achievement.

Berger and Finau started the third round 11 strokes off the lead, but both shot 66 relatively early in the day and suddenly found themselves in the final pairing for the final round.

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Hoffman was the only other player under par until he missed the 18th fairway and had to chop it down the fairway and make a 5-foot putt to escape with bogey.

"I did play some good golf after (1990) but it was sporadic", said unusual, a fiery competitor whose intensity was not unlike that of Woods.

"The conditions were a lot better today and I played well, the way I have been playing in decent conditions recently". "I drove it pretty good for most of the day, just never took advantage of the opportunities".

Phil Mickelson says he didn't mean any disrespect when he hit a moving ball on the 13th green at the U.S. Open.

The 14-time major champion finished strong, with birdies at his last two holes, but at 10-over-par 150 he was two strokes outside the cut line at eight-over.

He had missed the 36-hole cut at the U.S. Open, shooting 82-76.

The big names who missed this week's cut will bounce back. Jordan Spieth joined him with a bogey-bogey finish to miss the cut by one shot.

"You don't win major championships slapping it around the place and missing putts".

Piercy, a runner-up to Johnson at Oakmont two years ago, had a 71 and will play in the final group with him Saturday.

No surprise here. The 14th is the longest par 4, and just 70 yards shorter than one of the two par 5s on the course. Koepka made only two birdies in a hard-earned round of 72, leaving him in position to become the first back-to-back victor of the U.S. Open since Curtis Strange in 1989.

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